Ernest Christopher Dowson died 115 years ago on 23 February 1900, his body worn out by tuberculosis and neglect, and his heart wounded by grief and unrequited love.
Writing to Leonard Smithers from Paris just after hearing news of his death, Oscar Wilde paid Ernest Dowson the most fitting tribute:
Poor wounded wonderful fellow that he was, a tragic reproduction of all tragic poetry, like a symbol, or a scene. I hope bay leaves will be laid on his tomb and rue and myrtle too for he knew what love was.
Dowson loved younger girls in the purest way, so I will honour him by quoting from the 5th of his Sonnets of a Little Girl:
… yet once in a while
Dream of a day departed and a friend
Who placed above the world and Fortune’s prize
The love that centred in thy childish eyes.